• by Wes Singleton

Game Night, B-


Rated R, 93 minutes

The fun, predictable new dark comedy "Game Night" is for the Scrabble master, Yahtzee master or Monopoly expert in your life, someone who takes games just a little too seriously. Though a little too far-fetched and overstuffed with too many people, it's peppered with just as much energy as a round of Pictionary or Uno.

Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie's (Rachel McAdams) weekly game night gets kicked up a notch when Max's brother Brooks ("Friday Night Light's" Kyle Chandler) arranges a murder mystery party -- complete with fake thugs and federal agents, only Brooks really gets kidnapped, setting in motion a series of hilarious, unexpected twists and turns.

The likable "Game Night" is a funny look at people who takes games, way, way, too seriously, as well as a deadly game of sibling rivalry and competition. It's co-directed by "Horrible Bosses'" writing duo of Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley with a script by Mark Perez, and features a solid, talented cast, who do their best with some of the script's shortcomings - too many characters and twists and turns - especially in the last act.

Bateman, who has a habit of playing lovable dweebs like this, and Oscar-nominee McAdams ("Spotlight"), carry the film with their effortless chemistry, though admittedly, many of the film's funniest gags are seen in the trailers. Chandler has fun in a different role for him as a douchey older brother, as does "Dexter's" Michael C. Hall as a Bulgarian bad guy and "The Post's" Jesse Plemons as a creepy next door neighbor, though the other two couples here (Lamorne Morris and Kylie Bundy and Billy Magnussen and Sharon Horgan) seem like filler here.

Along the way, there's some bullets, blood, car chases and a cute, white dog who gets caught up in all the fracas. "Game Night" likes to go a little too over the top in its finale and there are too many characters here, but there are enough laughs that you may want to check your pockets for any Sorry pieces that may have mysteriously left the game board.

#gamenight #jjonathangoldstein #johnfrancisdaley #jasonbateman #rachelmcadams #kylechandler #jeffreywright #jesseplemons #billymagnussen #michaelchall #markperez #lamornemorris #kyliebunbury

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